Connect in the back of the net

(… Continuation from part 2 of this tale…)

George Woodcock had managed to cement in his place after those two matches. A lot of people were accusing the manager of being biased towards his son and picking him in the team.

Maybe his father was, maybe he wasn’t; George would never know.

But he finished the season with 23 goals as the top scorer of the team and finishing fourth in the race of the Golden Boot in the Premier League which was awarded to the top scorer of the league.

Chelsea immediately recalled him from the loan but he wasn’t entirely happy at returning. He had had a great season but that did not even remotely secure his place in the first team at Chelsea.

He was a backup striker. Luckily for him, the main striker, Diego Costa, who had finished second in the Golden Boot race, forced a move away to his home country of Spain because he was homesick. The competition for the striker’s spot had decreased but that was by no means a guarantee.

Long story short, he won the Golden Boot at Chelsea in the next season and from that point on, till the end of his career, he stayed at Chelsea and won every trophy possible.

In his fourth season at Chelsea he started dating glamour model Samantha Starr. He had dated plenty of models and actresses but the relationships barely lasted for months, even weeks.

But with Samantha he had felt a real connection and so, after a year, they got married at Hyde Park in London in an extravagant wedding. In the coming years of their marriage, they had two children, a boy named Rob and a girl named Patty.

But with time, and with his reputation and ego at its peak in his glory days, he couldn’t stay loyal to Samantha for very long.

It was like that quote from Manchester United and Northern Ireland legend George Best, ‘In 1969 I gave up women and alcohol – it was the worst 20 minutes of my life.’

He was a footballer. These were the only years in which he could have fun. What she didn’t know wouldn’t hurt her.

There were a few instances in which the press had caught whiff of his sexual expeditions but nothing money couldn’t fix. Convincing Samantha wasn’t really that difficult either.

“You’re the mother of my children. Why on earth would I ever cheat on you? The press love to make lies about footballers because people love to hear negative stuff about them because their jealous, sweetheart. They’re jealous that we’re so famous and in love.”

He had decided to retire at the age of 35 on a high in a treble-winning season and he still remembered the reception that he had received from the fans and the whole footballing world. He was one of, if not the best player to ever play in the history of Chelsea Football Club.

To this day, they still had his banners hanging in the stadium alongside legends such as Lampard, Osgood, Terry and Drogba. He had fulfilled his dream of becoming an elite like Drogba. “Heck, I’m even better than him,” he muttered to himself.

But, unfortunately, that was all that was left of his legacy.

He had retired thinking he would be a champion forever. That people would forever think of him the way they had as a player. But he had never realized that the second half of his life had begun and that it would be longer than the first.

He had gone into it by making one of the biggest mistakes you could make in football. You never go into the second half thinking you’ve already won. History had already proven that like the 2005 Champions League Final when AC Milan had lost against Liverpool after being up 3-0 at half-time.

An arrow fired in the sky will always fall down and the higher it goes, the harder it falls. That was how George Woodcock’s life was going to pan out.

George Woodcock had always loved drinking.

Often times, during the summer break he would guzzle so much alcohol that he would end up having a pot belly by start of pre-season training but through hard work he would manage to get in shape again.

But after retirement, he was free to drink as much as he wanted. He could get fat and it wouldn’t be a problem anymore. Bitches want the cash, they won’t care how I look,” he believed. 

He would spend each day drinking while sitting around in the house or hanging out at clubs and picking up chicks and taking them to hotel rooms for the night.

His wife had tried to wean him off his alcohol addiction but it was of no use. Before long she had given up trying to help him control it because he would become very short-tempered and abusive. He was also not giving enough time to her and the children.

Their marriage had started to fall apart but she stayed with him for the sake of their children and their image. The press was going to have a field day if they ever announced a divorce.

But within a couple of years things were getting unbearable. George Woodcock was slowly falling into depression and was refusing to accept it. Chelsea had become champions of the league again with the fans already hailing the players.

“Why aren’t they singing my name?” He was the real champion. He was the one who stayed with this club for years.

Those players were nothing compared to him. It infuriated him that they had forgotten him so soon and his family were the ones who had to deal with his rage. He would let out his anger on them for the stupidest of reasons.

He would yell at his wife if she went out, yell at the cleaners for non-existent or measly mistakes or yell at his children for slacking off. His son was always reading comics and books in his room and he couldn’t stand it because he felt they weren’t good for anything.

“Look at me, son, I fucking failed every grade and I’m still more famous than all the stupid scientists and doctors out there. Now go outside and play football like a real man.”

But his son wasn’t interested. He was a shy kid too just like his father had been but George didn’t seem to understand that.

To George, football was everything.

Samantha had suggested that he try his hand at getting his coaching badges so that he might become a coach and manager like his father had been.

George did like the idea of being a coach. The thought of teaching kids and bullying them to do whatever he wanted made him smirk. How lucky they would think themselves to be to be coached by their idol.

But the idea of going through all the hassle to get his badges prevented him. He was a fucking great footballer. He didn’t need to be taught to be a fucking great manager either.

“Heck, the staff at the club should be begging me to become a coach or maybe a member of the staff,” he boasted.

Of course, he had already received several offers from the club but he had chucked them aside. He felt they had not gone through enough trouble to get his services.

“They should show more effort. The kind of effort I showed on the fucking pitch!”

He was also thinking of opening a new clothing line with his name. It would be called Woodcock. The name sounded fancy now. His performances on the pitch had made his name of shame to one of greatness.

He could see those overpriced polo shirts and jeans that they sold at places like Ralph Lauren with his name on them along with a fancy logo. It would be the next best thing. He was sure of it.

But his ideas never came to fruition because he never tried as he was still lost in his glory, dreaming while everything around him slowly fell apart.

One day, he had entered his son’s room heavily drunk and saw him playing a football video game on his console.

 

(…. To be continued….)

 

Written by Abdullah Riaz

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